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I will not be bullied, judge tells lawyer

By Willis Oketch | Published Fri, January 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated January 11th 2018 at 23:14 GMT +3
Justice Lydia Achode

Lawyers representing the parties in a petition on the governorship race Thursday clashed in court last evening over an application seeking to disqualify a judge.

Former Mombasa senator Hassan Omar wanted Justice Lydia Achode to disqualify herself from hearing the case against the election of Governor Hassan Ali Joho.

But Justice Achode declared that after 30 years on the bench, she would not be bullied by lawyers.

The lawyers for Mr Joho and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) questioned Mr Omar's conduct.

Omar claimed that the judge was biased against him, but Joho's lawyers accused him of holding a vendetta against the judge.

Joho's lawyers also alleged that Omar was bitter after losing in the August 8 polls and was now trying to find an excuse for the collapse of a petition they described as 'incurable and incompetent'.

The former senator wants Joho's victory overturned, alleging fraud.

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Omar’s lawyer

Omar’s lawyer, Yusuf Abubakar, told Justice Achode that although it was distressing to tell judges to disqualify themselves from a case, he had no choice but to do so because it was what his client wanted.

Abubakar said Omar got offended when the judge rejected his application to have a scrutiny of the votes and that whenever the other parties made an application, it was accepted.

“We wanted to question the academic background of the governor but our plea was reject. That was a demonstration of bias,” said Abubakar.

However Joho’s lawyer, Mohamed Balala, dismissed Omar's application for the judge to disqualify herself as 'desperation', saying he feared that his case could be dismissed.

In her ruling, the judge said she would not be intimidated or swayed from doing the right thing by sideshow applications.

During the hearing, which extended past 5pm and had to move to the Chief Magistrate’s chamber after power went off, IEBC lawyer Paul Nyamodi said Omar's action was regrettable.

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